Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, August 25, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 15



 Mountain Views News Saturday, August 25, 2012 

STUART Tolchin..........On LIFE

HAIL Hamilton My Turn




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


Patricia Colonello




Richard Garcia


Lina Johnson


John Aveny 


Jeff Brown

Pat Birdsall

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Stuart Tolchin

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Hail Hamilton 

Rich Johnson

Chris Bertrand

Ron Carter

Rev. James Snyder

Bobby Eldridge

Mary Carney

La Quetta Shamblee

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Wellborn

Dr. John Talevich

Meaghan Allen

Sean Kayden


 You know, our language has not created the proper words 
to describe the new kinds of extended families and supportive 
relationships that have been created. There is that word 
“Stepmother” that always seems like it should be preceded by the 
adjective “evil” as in Cinderella and other such rather frightening 
tales. Today, I think it is really clear that non-biologically-related 
people, who step into the role of parent, or temporary care-taker, 
play a significant role in providing stability and just plain affection 
to the children of broken-families.

 Even the way I describe it seems inaccurate. The term “broken family” implies 
that most families are not “broken”. I wish that were true; but in my experience it 
isn’t. Families around me are all divorcing and when I talk to the kids I feel their 
discomfort. Their mommies and their daddies seem to be very curious about the 
lives of their ex-spouses or significant other and the kids are in a tough position. They 
seem to inherently know that certain things are private and shouldn’t be revealed, but 
they are confused. Last week an ex-neighbor who is ten years old and now only lives 
with her dad part-time was telling me about her mom’s new boyfriend. She says 
he’s a nice guy and she wishes that he and her mom and dad could all live together. 
That’s her dream. She also wishes that this new boy-friend and his teenage daughter’s 
boyfriend would not tickle her so much. I don’t like the sound of this any more than 
you do and I told her to make sure and tell her dad about this. At the same time I 
knew she would be hesitant to tell her dad very much about her mom’s private life and 
wondered if she was telling me so that I would tell her dad.

 As usual I’m confused. I don’t want to create problems unnecessarily but I’m 
concerned and I want to be a good neighbor and friend. I feel kind of responsible 
for everyone and I know that some people do not welcome this concern. Maybe the 
whole motivation behind these articles is an attempt to share myself with others 
and still keep some sort of social-distance. After almost five years of writing these 
things I have succeeded in creating a small, very small, following. A few days after 
an article appears I receive notes and mail addressing my articles. One man, who 
I do not know, sends me a manila envelope with about fifteen written pages and 
double that many pages of copied material relevant to his response to my articles. 
In one article I requested that if anyone knew of anything particularly uplifting they 
forward such information to me. Included that week in the envelope were pages of 
Mark Twain humor along with Groucho Marx and H.L Menken. I thought it was all 
pretty wonderful.

 You know it’s very strange that I have great difficulty in prevailing upon my own 
relatives and best friends to take the time and actually read my articles. I send them 
the articles and rarely get a response, even if I place the articles in their hands. I 
know they are busy people and have much to do in their own lives but, really, I wish 
they would take the time. Strangely, enough I receive lightning-like, well-considered 
replies from people who are not as close. Some of these people are incredibly busy 
and travel the world and still find time to reply, often critically, but supportively. I 
am most gratified when people take the time to share their own personal experiences 
that pop into their mind as they read my articles. On these occasions, and they 
happen pretty frequently I feel like we have created a new kind of extended family.

 I will share one last anecdote with you. A reader responded to my article 
describing arguments with old friends by recounting that recently as she swam in 
the rehabilitative pool set aside for senior citizen-types she was suddenly drenched 
by someone splashing water on her. She turned toward that person, a female in her 
seventies, and heard her say, “I’m no wimp. You took my spot!” I gather that these 
kinds of blow-ups are not uncommon.

 My point is that it is really tough out there. Our traditional family-bonds are 
disappearing and we need new words to help us to note and cherish our new 
relationships. Alienating words like step-parent are a disservice and words like 
“friend” are inadequate to really describe the importance of the new relationship. 
Someone I know just bought a used car for the adopted child of her brother’s second 
wife. I wonder what words he used to thank her. We need a word for that kind of 
enduring concern and support. By the way, I know the person who presented the gift 
really enjoyed her giving. 


Waiting to Check out at Ralph’s the other day, the young cashier 
suggested to a much older woman in line ahead of me, that 
she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags 
weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized, 
“You’re right, we didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back then.” The 
young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation didn’t

care enough to save our environment for future generations.” She was right; we 
didn’t have the “green thing” back then...

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. 
The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so 
it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

Back then, grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we 
reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, 
was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to 
ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was 
not defaced by our scribblings. Rather, we were able to personalize our books on 
the brown paper bags.

Back then, we walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store 
and office building. We walked to the grocery store; we didn’t jump into a $60,000 
300-horsepower gas guzzling BMW every time we had to go two blocks to buy a 
couple of gallons of milk.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway

kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling electric dryer burning

up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early 
days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always 
brand-new clothing.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room.

And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief not a screen the size of 
the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we 
didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile 
item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not 
Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. 

Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We 
used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we 
didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

Back then, we drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup 
or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens 
with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor 
instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or 
walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s 
$45,000 SUV, which cost what a whole house did before the “green thing.” We had 
one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen 
appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed 
from 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint...

Finally, I’d heard all I could tolerate. 

“Give me a break!” I told the cashier. “My generation doesn’t need a lecture on 
conservation from you, who clearly doesn’t know diddle-squat about ecology or 
the environment. And my generation doesn’t like being told we’re old either, it 
just pisses us off .

“You ought to seriously consider doing something o stop you from making all 
these inanely stupid remarks about something you obviously know absolutely 
nothing about. 

And one more thing Sweetheart... Do something about all those tattoos. You 
look more like a billboard than a cashier working at a supermarket; a cashier I 
might add who can’t even make change without the help of a wasteful electricity-
gobbling automatic cash register “to tell you” the correct amount!”

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A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


JOE Gandleman


If you're a political and media junkie, you know one 
truth: your head starts to spin after a while -- even more 
than the political spinners you see every day on MSNBC, 
Fox News and CNN -- due to obnoxious, trite and 
overused phrases that have invaded our culture. Here's 
an updated list of some phrases as welcome as chalk 
scraping on a blackboard.

1. "False equivalence." When employed by political partisans 
"false equivalence" usually means there is a VALID 
equivalence, since in American politics you always defend your own political 
sports team and insist only the other side is guilty. Then there is political jiu-jitsu 
"false equivalence" on display recently on Twitter, where someone insisted it was 
not a false equivalence to say Vice President Joe Biden's "chains" remark was the 
same as Missouri Rep. Tim Akin's controversial assertion about "legitimate rape." 
When you hear the phrase "false equivalence", it usually comes from a partisan 
in defense mode.

2. "A defining moment." Says who? Some self-important analyst, political reporter, 
ideological blogger? How does this supposedly wise person, who can tell 
us now how this will define someone's life or history, know it is a "defining moment?" 
Do they have a crystal ball? Most people who think they have crystal balls 
are as accurate in their predictions as Fox News' Dick Morris. The only analyst 
with a crystal ball that seemingly works is the University of Virginia's Larry Sabato. 
And he doesn't hurl the phrase "defining moment" around.

3. "Tried to change the subject..." That means a politician dared to try to talk 
about something other than what a politician, political pundit, or journalist considered 
to be the true story of the day. Could it be that politicians may prioritize 
differently than reporters and pundits, and they're trying to talk about something 
that may be of greater substance than the latest skunk spraying contest raging 
between two parties or candidates? Can't we multi-task? He who says "tried to 
change the subject" often arrogantly thinks he alone can determine "the subject."

4. "He just doesn't get it..." That often means someone won't go along with the 
speakers' partisan or ideological spin and/or sees things differently.

5. "Singing Kumbaya..." This suggests someone who is ideologically trite, conjuring 
up images of people with their arms around each others' shoulders, vapidly 
smiling as they sing a song suggesting peace and love can change the world. Puh-
leze: retire this phrase with all your folk song vinyl records.

6. "A Marine and his buddies..." How do we know it's that Marine's "buddy?" 
Can't a Marine hate a co-Marine's guts? Why don't we say, "A proctologist and his 
buddies...Obama and his buddies...Romney and his buddies." And what about 
military women? Are they with their "buddies," too? 

7. “The Mushy Middle.” Partisans love to use this phrase, but when the "mushy 
middle" supports their beliefs, then suddenly the middle is perceptive, thoughtful, 
principled, important and brilliant. Most often used by political hacks.

8. "DE-fense and OFF-fense." Used in sports. So does this mean we have a federal 
Department of DE-fense? If you find this OFF-fensive then you just don't get it 
about how huge this is.

9. "The liberal media...The conservative media...” Most media outlets separate 
opinion from their news gathering operations. Reporters and editors are often 
diverse politically. Liberals and conservatives blast the media when they don't like 
its content, then quote it and praise it to the hilt when they like its content.

10. "The mainstream media..." New media bloggers blast it all the time and trumpet 
themselves as belonging to a new age of journalism, but if you removed the 
mainstream media reporting that bloggers copy, paste and comment on (without 
paying for this source material), most blogs would have little content, indeed.


Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States. He 
has appeared on cable news show political panels and is Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet 
hub for independents, centrists and moderates. 

And I must say 
I do not get very 
much help on this 
part, especially 
from the Gracious Mistress of the 
Parsonage. Her idea of keeping it simple 
is not telling me everything.

 This past week I think she went a little 
too far.

 It was Saturday night and I was 
preparing for my weekly bath. I had 
assembled all the necessary equipment: 
my rubber ducky, my reading glasses and 
the book I was reading at the time. There 
is nothing more relaxing to me than a hot 
bubbly bath with a good book.

 Eventually, I put my book up and began 
the ritual of taking a bath. I reached for 
the bar of soap and it felt a little different 
then I had remembered from the week 
before. It felt as though it had been rolled 
in gravelly dirt.

 Wanting to know what the problem 
was, I called to my wife.

 “What’s wrong with the soap?”

 She then came into the bathroom and 
said, “There’s nothing wrong with the 

 “But it feels different,” I complained.

 “That’s because it’s oatmeal soap,” she 

 “Oatmeal soap? What do you mean, 
oatmeal soap?”

 “It’s a new soap I found at the Bath and 
Body store. It’s something new. It’s good 
for you, use it.”

 I immediately began to search my 
mind (I almost got lost in the process) for 
information concerning oatmeal. I knew, 
for example, that oatmeal was a food. I 
like a bowl of hot oatmeal in the morning 
with sliced bananas. And oatmeal raisin 
cookies go perfect with a nice hot cup 
of coffee. However, I could not find any 
information in my brain corroborating 
the fact that you can wash with oatmeal.

 I looked at the bar of oatmeal soap and 
did not know if I should wash with it or 
eat it. And, where do you put the sliced 

 To make matters worse, if that could 
be possible, I discovered in the bathtub 
a new bottle of shampoo. It was called 
Sweet Apple Shampoo. There is nothing 
like a fruity-tooty bubble bath to bring 
out the manly spirit in a person.

 I did not know if I should dry off and 
be put into the refrigerator.

 This incident only illustrated to me 
the fact that we live in a very complicated 
world. Somebody comes up with some 
simple idea that is a good idea. However, 
the real money goes to the person who 
can take that simple idea and complicate 
it beyond all recognition.

 “There ain’t nothing simple anymore,” 
my grandfather used to say. And he’s 
been dead for 30 years. What would he 
say today?

 For example, take your common 
everyday telephone. The telephone 
is no longer a phone but rather a full 
communication system. You can do 
everything on your cell phone.

 I tried to buy a new cell phone 
recently and found it rather difficult. 
The salesperson was telling me all of the 
features of this new cell phone.

 “All I want is to be able to phone my 
wife when I’m away from the house.”

 The salesperson didn’t seem to get 
that fact into his head. For some reason 
he seemed to think I was so important I 
needed all of the features of the latest cell 

 Do you know? I could not find a cell 
phone that just was a phone.

 I remember the days when the 
telephone was a party system. What 
parties we used to have. Each person 
on that party phone line had a certain 
ring. I still remember ours. It was two 
rings. Of course, whenever the phone 
rang everybody on the party line knew 
who was getting a call and felt complete 
liberty in joining in.

 Not just telephones but also everything 
else has been complicated for us. A 
watch is no longer a watch, but rather a 
timepiece that does everything but tell 
time. I saw one that was also a cell phone.

 Now, I need a cell phone to find 
out what time it is and I need a watch 
to make a phone call. While I’m on 
the subject, try to find a phone booth 
in the neighborhood. The absence of 
the neighborhood phone booth may 
explain the rise in crime. Where in the 
world does Clark Kent change into his 
Superman suit?

 Then there is coffee. On a recent trip, 
I had to use the services of our friendly 
airline service, which necessitated 
spending time in airports, which is as 
close to purgatory as a person can get 
without dying. I tried to find a plain 
cup of coffee. Everywhere I went they 
had everything but plain coffee. The 
coffee had been flavored with everything 
from vanilla to pineapples and a few 
ingredients I could not pronounce.

 No wonder so many elderly people 
go senile. It’s the only sane thing to do in 
such a complicated world.

 Where, oh where have the simple 
things in life gone?

 Only one place remains simple for 
me. That is the Bible. It is not hard 
understanding what Jesus meant. “Jesus 
saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, 
and the life: no man cometh unto the 
Father, but by me.” John 14:6 (KJV).

 As far as I’m concerned, nothing is 
complicated about trusting Jesus.

Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the 
Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, 
Ocala, FL 34483. His web site is www. 

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